Friday, June 28, 2013

Why saying Weirdo White Cracker is not Racist

A flurry of Facebook debate rose around the flimsy defense for Zimmerman, murderer on trial for killing Trayvon Martin, a young Black Man full of promise killed because Zimmerman claims to have felt threatened in his neighborhood.

Racism is prejudice based on race backed by the full weight and power of the institution, law, society behind it. Yes prejudice hurts, but without the full power of the institution it is prejudice, not racism. Prejudice hurts, it may even traumatize. It's ill mannered at the least. I'm not downplaying that. However, I am saying, in this discussion of race, calling a white person a cracker is not racism. When Trayvon uses it to describe the killer stalking him as a weirdo cracker, he is not being racist.

Racism is a line of division.  On one side is the "racist list." All kinds of people can uphold racism with a spectrum of behaviors from blatant thought. words, and actions like the KKK, Aryan Nation all the way to supporting with silence, or apathy or cowardice. The list supporting racism even includes people of color shoring up racist institutions and action by being gatekeepers, laughing along with a racist jokes against them, cutting down someone who is speaking against racism by a stamp of approval for the racist side. These are people of color being pro-racist. You can be on that side of the line of racism by being a Supreme Court Justice white or black who gutted the voting rights act, defending this racist murder by putting parents on trial and the victim on trial for calling this vigilante stalking him a white cracker, etc etc.

On the other side of the line is the "anti-racist list" ALSO the full spectrum of humanity. This is a list of people who are committed in thought word and action to obliterate racism by standing up against it, acting against it and educating oneself to understand that racist line better. Of course, people of color as a state of survival and health have to stand up to it. It's a powerful stand to take rather than alienation, fear, self hatred. Who wants to be Clarence Thomas or S.I. Hayakawa? Remember him? Japanese American Pres of SF during the Student Movements who was an apologist for the concentration camps during WW2 who put his parents behind barbed wire (It wasn't bad. It was fun to be a kid there) and disrespected the students of color he was supposed to care about by bringing in armed and ready for combat police force to stop the demonstration which were being supported by clergy and NAACP and other organizations. So the list on the anti-racist side, for example, on this thread, John is reading the heck out of literature which has to do with that relationship of all kinds of people including white people to racism, thinking and then educating. I'm taking his reading list down. Would you join me, those of you who are taking names like cracker so personally in the context of this murder trial, taking comments made about Christianity personally, in this context?

This line of racism exists all the time in our racialized country. Which side are we on at any given moment -- especially when we feel poked and personal. Making the decision to be racist/pro-racist or anti-racist in this racialized country is a daily exercise. I encourage everyone not to be tempted to get into this reverse racism argument -- over  names used now in this moment to defend of a man who murdered of a young Black man with such a bright future or to resent  affirmative action during times which make it tough on everyone to get into colleges or get a job.  All of this is just "red herring" in support of an unjust system which divides us so that a few elite robber barons can gain from our misery and division. Choose always to be powerful.  Choose always to be on the side of the line which rejects all the isms designed to divide us.  Choose to be Outside the Belly of the Beast.

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"from Outside the Belly" was also known as "TBAsian" from 2008-2010. Thank you for reading.

from Outside the Monster's Belly

from Outside the Monster's Belly
. . . following Earth instead (Rakaia River, site of Salmon Ceremony, photo credit Ruth Koenig)


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Eugene, Oregon
I am a citizen of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe. I am a Nikkei descendant sansei (third generation);retired teacher, involved in the Winnemem tribal responsibility to Water, Salmon, and our belief that the Sacred is our Teacher. Working locally for human rights and supporting youth leadership.